Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Kennedy Suite - Cowboy Junkies at the Winter Garden

Toronto roots band Cowboy Junkies will release on November 12 a concept album The Kennedy Suite – which according to the Junkies themselves will “tell the story of the JFK assassination through the fragmented narratives of a series of characters, each of whom experiences the tragedy from their own intensely personal perspective.”

A collaborative work, it will be produced by Toronto composer Scott Garbe and include special guests Hawksley Workman, Sarah Harmer, Jason Collett, Harlan Pepper, Lee Harvey Osmond, The Good Family and Doug Paisley.

For more on this see:

The Kennedy suite  performance at the Winter Garden Theater

Friday, November 22, 2013 and Saturday November 23, 2013 8 pm

This show is created and designed by Benedict Hillard (associate designer for Les Miserables, Miss Saigon), Stephen Pollard (Lighting director for U2, Adele, Simple Minds) and Geoff Burpee, with the Cowboy Junkies making the stage debut of The Kennedy Suite.

Set around the assassination of John F. Kennedy,  this ambitious stage production will include special guests Sarah Harmer, The Good Family, Jason Collett and others, and afterwards include a special jam session with the Cowboy Junkies and their friends. junkies/

The Kennedy Suite – Origins by Scott Garbe

By Oct 2, 2013

(We will be releasing The Kennedy Suite on Latent Recordings on November 12th. Pre-orders will start on October 15th. The debut performance of The Kennedy Suite will be on November 22nd and 23rd at The Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. Please visit The Kennedy Suite website and Facebook page)

Scott Garbe is the writer of The Kennedy Suite. He will be posting a series of blogs about the writing of the Suite, it is a fascinating journey and definitely worth following along…make sure that you check back in every now and then.

Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever. It must have been shattering, stamped into one’s memory. And yet, I can’t remember it.”

·         Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

When I think about the origins of The Kennedy Suite it really began when I was in the third grade. I didn’t start writing the songs at that time, of course, I had a formative experience that was to change my perception of the world.

President Kennedy was a hero in our home. The image attached here is of a vinyl record of his most famous speeches that used to lean against our family’s old cabinet stereo in perpetual view. Maybe your family had the same record.

Even at a young age, I was struck by JFK’s beautiful family and the ideas he had left for the world to consider, the stories of his courage during the Second World War (PT 109), of his longing to reach the moon, of his love for poetry. In a sense, I had all the romantic notions of President Kennedy as a young boy that many citizens of the world must have had in the early sixties, that of a man of great dreams and grace – almost invincible.

In the fall of that third-grade year, I was digging through my parent’s bookshelf when I came across a commemorative book published by the Associated Press entitled The Torch Has Passed… Unsuspecting, I flipped through to a sequence of pictures of the assassination in Dallas. I hadn’t known the President had been murdered. In a double page fold of stark, black and white photos I saw for the first time that the world was not what I thought it was. It was a dangerous, frightening place where no one was safe, not even Presidents.

Especially striking was an image taken shortly after the shooting. Kennedy had fallen forward, unconscious, onto the floor of his limousine. The life of the bold leader of the New Frontier had been ruthlessly taken before my eyes – Secret Service Agent Clint Hill’s foot dangling hopelessly over the rear side of the car in a desperate attempt to steady himself as the Presidential party rushed in a violent blur to Parkland Hospital.
That’s when I realized, for the first time, that I wouldn’t go on forever.

And that’s why I had to write these songs.

Talk to you soon,


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